Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ten Things That Are Bringing Me Joy

And just in case I risk being accused of being "overly negative" here are Ten Things That Bring Me Joy right about now...

1. My boyfriend challenged me to a Pumpkin Carve-Off about a month ago, and I'm pretty sure he's forgotten, but I sure haven't. Hey babe, guess what we're doing this weekend?

2. The Big Bang Theory. Seriously, I could watch this show Every. Single. Day. Good thing it's on TBS, so now I really can.

3. Onesta Hair Care - not just an amazing job, but literally the best hair products I've ever used in my life too. And non-carcinogenic to boot.

4. Speaking of carcinogenic - Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and specifically the BCAA Symposium and Conference, at the beginning of the month helped bring me some much appreciated perspective on how truly blessed we all are, and how to embrace every day of life with all the passion I have.

5. Fall weather - Boots, tights, sweaters, hats, scarves, hand warmers, Pumpkin Spice Latte's, bonfires, apples, football, boots! I love fall! What's not to love?

6. Cable TV (partially for the fact that it brought The Big Bang Theory to my life, but also, The Kardashians, Millionaire Matchmaker, Prohibition, Revenge).

7. The joys of being Wheat-Free, such as sleeping better, feeling better, and hopefully soon, looking better.

8. I have the absolute best boyfriend on earth. He is the best man I know, and I'm unabashedly enamored with him. How he ever manages to love me back is a God given miracle, and makes me smile from ear to ear.

9. The small amount of self satisfaction and smugness that comes from simultaneously reading Wheat Belly, God & Harry Potter At Yale, and Guns, Germs & Steel. Not to mention, these are three amazingly good books. Add to this that my copy of Kisses From Katie is on it's way from Amazon and I'm in book heaven.

10. Knowing that despite all the crap I've been wading through with gossip, speculation, unsupporting friends and just feeling "out of the loop", my life is full of grace, I have the capacity to show love and mercy, and I am learning so much about what's important in life.

Totally random, but has anyone else noticed that Bob Barker has no eyebrows?

Setting The Record Straight Once Again

Sooo.... I posted something last week that I had on my mind for months, but hadn't found the courage to say. It's below if you want to read it.

Since that time I've been doing some more thinking, based mostly off of two very snarky, very hurtful comments I received, about the nature of being passive aggressive, and what role it plays in speculation, rumors and "sanctified" gossip.

I think it plays a big role, since it's basis is in avoidance. Avoidance of the issues, avoidance of a person, avoidance of confrontation (which isn't always a bad thing!). Avoidance is often at the core of gossip and speculation, as gossip is a sin that never confronts anyone to their face, but whispers about them behind their back. Gossip is, more often than not, an "Anonymous" sin.

Was it passive aggressive of me to post my thoughts on gossip, speculation and rumor-mongering? Only if I had done so without confronting my accusers, which as I mentioned halfway through the post, I have done, or at least those that have been brave enough to bring their concerns to my face.

Sadly very few people that have been spreading gossip or speculating about me have also been brave enough to confront me about my supposed actions to my face. I can count them on one hand. I am very grateful for them, and if anything I respect them more for having talked to me about their concerns, and for having come to me in person, and it has deepened both our friendship and my appreciation for them. These same individuals, however, have also shared with me that other people have been questioning them, and bringing their grievances about my "Lifestyle Choices" to their attention. What I'd like to know is this - Exactly what kind of sin pit do they think I've fallen into?

The people that have been brave enough to share their concerns to my face have also held the right to protect the identity of the people who have chosen to remain anonymous in their gossip and speculation. I respect that right completely, as I think in a way, it ends the vicious cycle of gossip and rumors. If those people who are asking about me are not brave or caring enough to confront me personally, and would prefer to take the passive aggressive way out, then I don't want to know who they are anyways.

Ironically enough then, the very thing I'm being accused of, for posting what I did below, is the thing that I have fallen victim to. It's easy to ask someone else about a person, requesting to remain anonymous, and know that you can get the scoop on a person, air your opinions, and all the while be protected. It's equally easy to post a comment that's hurtful and rude, knowing your identity will be shown as "Anonymous". Sadly, it's very easy to be passive aggressive.

What takes courage, people, what requires guts and balls, and at least a decent level of caring is this: Confronting someone face to face. Or email to email, text to text, message to message. There is something very admirable about that, and something that flies in the face of sin. I think this is why Jesus told us to air our grievances to our brothers and sisters, if we have a problem with them. In doing so, we demonstrate courage, a level of caring, and we let Satan know that we refuse to live in the dark, but choose instead to walk in the light, and we invite those we have grievances with to do the same.

I challenge those people who've chosen to post Anonymously on my blog to walk in the light, and message me. My email address is trinetterkaiser@gmail.com, I'm on Facebook (see the widget to the left), and if you know me personally then you probably have my number. Will I be offended? Surprisingly, probably not in the least, as I can't imagine what level of courage and humility it would take to call me. More than likely, I'd be flattered and as long as you're willing to hear my side of the story, I'd be willing to hear yours too. As for the ones that have chosen to circumvent communication, and yes, the biblical outline for confronting your Christian brother, I encourage you to do the same - call or message me.

More than anything I want my side of the story to be known. I want people to know that I care, that I forgive, and that I'm alive and not living the life they might have heard I am. I just want the truth to be known. Which is why I've chosen to write about (not to mention the fact, that for me, blogging is highly cathartic, and well within my rights to write whatever I want to. It's my blog, so there!).

And at the end of another day, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

What I've Learned This Summer (not just the name of a 7th grade back to school report)

It’s usually pretty safe to say that the things people fall victim to are the things they tend to stand most resolutely against. A mother who has a child who is struck by a drunk driver is more likely to join MADD, than someone who’s never been the victim of that kind of a crime. I think it’s safe to say that the same goes for all of us, we tend to be adamantly opposed to the things that have hurt us the most, whether that’s drunk driving, or adultery, or gossip or whatever.

Lately I’ve been dealing with the fact that, despite having a pretty boring, uneventful life, I’ve been the butt of some pretty hurtful and uninformed gossip. Needless to say, I've been ruminating a lot on the nature of this subtle, yet destructive tool of dissension and injury. It’s pretty amazing how all the clich├ęs about gossip are true too – it spreads like wildfire, it needn’t be false to be hurtful, no one gossips about your secret virtues, and the very people who gossip to you are the ones who are going to gossip about you.

Gossip isn't one of those big, loud, showy sins that Christians tend to recognize as obviously ungodly. It isn't murder, or adultery, or any one of the Ten Commandments, for that fact. It's kind of like overeating or pride or little white lies, it’s such a white little sin. And sad to say, a lot of modern Christian culture still reeks with the remnants of decades of Puritanical conservatism and its holier-than-thou mindsets. We may not be living in the 1950’s, where housewives shared the local gossip over a clothesline, but in an age of social media, where everyone knows everything about everyone else’s life, it’s still an easy trap to fall into, and a hard one to own up to. What’s more, with the easy disguise of genuine concern, how many times do we as Christians use the excuse of “being worried about” someone, or “just sharing a prayer request”? What is often disguised with seemingly good intentions is nothing more than a sin hiding its own face, presumptuously thinking no one will notice. Or as George Harrison once said “Gossip is the Devil’s radio.”

I have all these thoughts and ruminations about gossip lately, because I find I am the unwilling subject of it amongst a growing number of people, some of them even close friends. Months ago, I would have taken the stance that yes, gossip happens – sadly, it’s inevitable, especially in a smaller church body such as my own. But now that I’m at the wrong end of it, I’m growing increasingly more adamant about how wrong and harmful it is and am starting to question the excuses we make of it being unintentional as just a farce. Even though I’m sure it can’t be true of each individual, it seems to me that there is nothing that keeps a small church body more occupied than speculation and gossip about one of their own. Yet so often I have been guilty of just sitting back and doing nothing about it, while other people gossiped in front of me. Now I deeply regret not standing up for the people in question and putting an end to it when I heard it. What’s more I wish I could take back all the things I heard, and now know (or believe to be true) about the people they were said about. Like toothpaste from a tube, gossip and our words are something that once they’re out, they’re impossible to get back in.

So how do we prevent gossip, in the first place? Well, the first step is to recognize it. I think everyone would agree that a gossiper is someone who has the 411 on someone or something and shares that information with other people who have no business knowing it. Whether harm is intended or not, gossip goes from being “caring” to hurtful when it’s content is negative, potentially embarrassing, shameful, and/or brings doubt or speculation on the character or actions of the person in question. Also, if it is shared without permission or knowledge of the person in question, that too it is gossip. I guess the old adage goes that if you have to stop and ask yourself if what you’re saying is gossip, than it is probably better to err on the side of silence, and not say it at all.

Another sin that has been at the forefront of my mind this summer is speculation, which I’m loosely defining as the willingness of one person to question the morality or virtue of another person in the absence of concrete information. Speculation can lead to gossip, and for sure gossip leads to speculation, so more often than not the two go hand in hand. Speculation, conjectures and assumptions about a person, without knowing the hard facts, is often what fuels a person’s motivations to seek out or listen to gossip. And since all speculation is, is opinion, it’s subject to the changing whims, fancies and translations of whoever happens to being hearing or repeating it.

Speculation drives me so insane, because it goes directly against the biblical mandate of taking your grievances to your brother. We are told in Matthew 18 that if your brother does something that irks you, go take it to him, and try to win him over. I’m sure that the same principle applies if you have questions about what your brother is doing exactly over there in the corner, or just how he’s living his life. Nowhere in the bible do we see it endorsed that in the absence of concrete information, talk to Neighbor #1 about Neighbor #2 and find out what they’ve been observing from behind their kitchen curtains this week. Yep, I’m pretty sure that’s not how Jesus rolled. So much gossip could be nipped in the bud if people just followed this simple idea. You hear something, or think something or wonder something about someone, and instead of asking that person, you go talk to your neighbor, and the two of you proceed into a discussion about exactly what the person in question could be up to. Is it truly being caring? Yes to a point. Is it opening up the door to questioning the virtue and intentions of that person, potentially judging them and giving hurtful gossip a big old Welcome sign with which to enter the conversation? Absolutely.

I have been thinking about all this, and wishing I could just tell people directly to their faces to stop their speculating and gossiping already, but sadly, one of the ways we as Christians bury each other’s sins, and our own as well, is through the whole “Someone said” game. As in “Someone said to me the other day that you were really struggling in your faith.” Really? Because I have not told anyone that at all lately, because frankly, it isn’t true, but thanks for checking. Or, better yet “I heard from someone recently that you moved in with your boyfriend, is that true?” Nope, it’s not, but that’s interesting because “Someone” is grossly misinformed on the little details of my life, but must have one helluva wild imagination. In the absence of cold hard facts, and because they want to dig out the truth but are too cowardly to ask outright, it’s easy for people to play the “Someone said” game. This makes it so easy to deflect any guilt, and still seem concerned and sincere. I would venture to say that the verse I mentioned earlier, in Matthew 18:15 covers this base in principle, and just as if you have a problem, go take it to your brother, there is also no better place to go if you want to know something about that person. Get straight to the source, if you want the truth.

Well speaking of the truth – the fact of the matter is, there are a few things I’d like to set straight, that have been bothering me lately. I have addressed them to the people in my life who are perpetuating untruths, rumors, speculation and gossip, but for those of you out there wondering, and happening to fall into the speculation or “Someone said” category, here is the truth of what’s going on in my life. Now you can stop speculating, stop gossiping, and hear it straight from the source:

No, I have not stopped loving Jesus, despite the fact that I have taken some time off going to church this summer, to just play catch up with my life. I don’t equate taking some much needed downtime as not loving God, but if you do, then I’m really sorry because I’m pretty sure you missed the whole “day of rest” thing. Too bad for you.

I have taken time off church because I’ve been busy, sick, traveling (both for work and for personal reasons) and because I can. I am a grown woman, and have the ability to set my own schedule, and if I want to take some time off, it is my inherent right to do so. Short of the overwhelming gossip that my time off has caused, it has actually been a really nice thing for me.

I have not taken this time off because I am running from my friends, from any “truth” they are “speaking into my life” or because I have fallen away from my faith. But thanks for jumping to that conclusion, it makes me so glad and reassured to know you all believe the absolute best in me and have such strong faith in my character.

No, I’m not pregnant. And I can’t believe I have to resort to saying it in a public forum either. But I’ve been approached by “concerned” friends, playing the “Someone Said” game, who’ve flat out asked if that’s why I haven’t been attending church lately. So let me set the record straight.

No, I haven’t moved in with my boyfriend and no, he hasn’t moved in with me. What’s more, he is not drawing me away from my relationship with Jesus, failing to be a good leader, a spiritual man or a moral and decent person. He has not whispered in my ear that I should be setting things on fire, drowning small animals, running over little old ladies in the crosswalk or wearing white after Labor Day. Fact of the matter is, he is a great guy, the best thing that has ever happened to me, the answer to my prayers and then some, and I have the utmost faith in his ability to challenge me as a person holistically and in all areas of my life, including spiritually.

Despite the fact that I’m largely MIA lately, I have not stumbled down a slippery slope of sin, like a good girl gone bad. No matter what you may think, I am still the same person, just a little more ticked off than usual, and with good cause. I am still the same Trinette that likes to play with kids more than talk to adults, who is goofy, would give you the shirt off her back and has absolutely no poker face. I am frustrated that a simple change in my habits has caused this much angst, and drama, and I am deeply hurt by the fact that I feel entirely unsupported by the people I would have months ago called my friends, but I know I’m going to be okay.

Because at the end of the day I’ve learned some pretty valuable lessons – like no matter what group you’re in, most people tend to shun the outsiders, and treat well only those they consider their own, even the most “Christian” groups. I’ve learned that if you want to continue in a friendship or relationship with someone, it is indeed a two way street, and that puts equal responsibility on yourself to work at it, and trust me, friendships take work. But most importantly I think I’ve learned what not to do. How not to judge. How not to live. I’ve learned that one of the most valuable things you can offer to a person, no matter what you think of their choices, is not to jump to conclusions, not to judge them without all the facts, and not to spread your suspicions, speculations and gossip around before you think about the life you are affecting, and the individual person about whom you’re blabbering about. I’ve learned that treating other’s as you would wish to be treated is truly the golden rule – it is precious, and beautiful, but it is rare, just like gold. I’m grateful for the character going through this summer has brought me, character that makes me both stronger and more conscientious, through the cost of a little pain and frustration.

I hope that this post, instead of seeming like the rants of someone who just needs to get something off her chest, will inspire you to take a look at how you’re living and how better to emulate Christ. Let me leave with a quote, from someone who said it a lot better, and less grandiosely than I’ve managed to. It’s off of a Facebook status from Mars Hill Church: “'If you go & sin no more, then neither will I condemn you' is the opposite of 'Neither do I condemn you. Go & sin no more.' Order matters." –Pastor Justin Holcomb.

And that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ten Things That Are Brining Me Joy Right Now

  1. Puppies & Potatoes - if you know, you know.

  2. Started the day feeling a breeze going through my apartment and noticing there was a palpable temperature/humidity drop inside those four walls overnight. Maybe this weekend I'll actually be able to stay there instead of trying to escape to anywhere that doesn't feel like Dante's 7th Circle of Hell.

  3. First song on the radio this morning: Blake Shelton's "HoneyBee". Seriously, how cute is Blake Shelton? How even cuter is that song? I haven't told my sweetheart yet, but I think I want that to be "our song".

  4. Speaking of the man - the surprise for me that he is not working this weekend, and the surprise for him that I'm not in Las Vegas till next weekend, meaning we have the entire weekend to spend together. Now that's a great surprise!

  5. Things are calming down a bit at work as the new gals become more confident working independently. Maybe this week I won't be staying till 7:00 every night :)

  6. Shopping on Monday with Calli!! Yay for beautiful new friends and retail therapy!

  7. The prospect that, according to the often-wrong Kare 11 Weather Team, it's supposed to cool down significantly in the next few days. Like ten degrees or more temperature drop cool down.

  8. 7 more days till Cosmoprof in Vegas. 35 more days till Boston with my baby!

  9. More fodder for the stream of consciousness conversation I've been having with myself on the subject of doing everything "in love". THIS is the call of all Christiankind - and the greatest action we can ever take. I love learning about it, and only wish I could get the idea that I want a tattoo of it out of my head.

  10. Harry Potter - this past weekend and again tonight with a friend! Oh man, I think I just squealed a little big and maybe even peed my chair.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Letter To The Young Women In My Life.

Someone gave me the most amazing compliment today. She texted me to say thank you for remaining true to myself, even when I'm in a relationship. She said that her teenage daughter noticed the other day that I have not "changed", either myself or how I act, just because I'm in a relationship, and especially while I'm around my boyfriend. She said that this spoke louder than all the dating talks she and her husband could give her daughter, and thanks for just being myself.

Hahah, I guess it's pretty easy - I don't know how to be anybody other than me, and I've never been someone who's good at faking it. But I know I am also more than blessed to have a great guy in my life who loves me, not despite of who I am, but just because of who I am, and that allows me to stay true to all the dorkiness that is me. For the first time in my life, I have a tangible sense of what it means to be loved for all my quirks and oddities and to trust in a relationship that the other person will love me even as he discovers all the things about me that I assume would change his mind. Knowing this reassures me that this awesome man I get to know and love is a blessing and a treasure from my heavenly Father who has loved me like that since before time existed. C is just one more way that God shows me His own love on a daily basis, but by no means is he the only way.

Sidenote: Granted love is so much more than a feeling, or an emotion, and even feelings wane. Today, though, a thought occurred to me from the classic love section of 1 Corinthians 13- love keeps no evil of wrong, well it also needs to be sure to never forget the good either. As I practice every day what it means to love another person - the compromise, the self-sacrifice, the grace and acceptance and mercy, I need to make sure that I am not just forgetting any wrongs done to me, but always remembering the good about each person and the good that they've shown me. It's not enough to not keep track of hurts, we need to celebrate the things about the people that we love that are beautiful as well.

I am so blessed to be in a relationship that is every day teaching more and more about the kind of love Christ showed me. His is the kind of love that saw me dirty and filthy, and died for me with joy and love in His heart. For the treasure that was put before Him He endured the pain and the shame of the cross. We are that treasure that He was looking forward to. We were the light at the end of His tunnel. What's more, He didn't try to clean me up beforehand, or tell me that I need to act this certain way or behave that certain way to get His love. He took what was imperfect and showed me a love that was beautifully perfect. He was the first one to remind me it's okay to be who I am - that is who He created me to be and who He loved since before I was even born. And through this great relationship with C that He's given me, He is teaching me in new ways to refine what He has redeemed into someone kinder, sweeter, gentler, more sacrificial, less selfish, and all around better. Love is doing the refining work in me that all the behavior modification in the world never could.

The love that He has shown me, and the gift that He has given me of a man who accepts me the way I am and doesn't try to change me is what I've always wanted and prayed for, but knew I would be okay without. And I hope that the young women in my life realize that they too will be okay with out it, if that is God's will for their lives. We do not need a guy, a boyfriend, or a man to remind of us God's love - it is there for us to see in a million other ways, if we just ask Him to show us. Now that I have it though, I can fully see that it is nothing I've earned, nothing I've deserved or accomplished on my own, nothing I would have died or been miserable without, and most of all, I can see truly that it is 150% a gift from my Father who loves me. And fortunately, it is just like the Bobbi Brown makeup I've become so addicted to, it allows me to be me, only better. Btw - yes, that was a shameless plug for Bobbi Brown, but I am seriously adoring her makeup line. There is nothing artificial, fake or mask like about it - it is built around just being who you are, but better. And that is something I hope all the young women I know will realize about God's love - His love takes us just as we are and makes us more beautiful (Christlike), but still fully ourself.

Young ladies, remember that who you are is "good" in God's sight. He has created you unique and amazing and truly transcendentally beautiful. Every day He will find new ways to show you it Himself, if you just ask and seek. And frankly, I don't want to ever hear that any young woman I know is waiting around for a guy to show her this about herself - we, as the body of Christ, get the privilege of doing that, among other ways that He can use. But when you do find the right guy (you know, when you're like me, 36, haha!), you will then see in a new way God's love for you. Till then, don't change who you are. Love who you are. Embrace who you are, and grow in Christlike character to refine who you are into someone even more beautiful and glowing and reflective of He who loves you. You young ladies are amazing, and I love you very much! Now go conquer the world with all the love of Christ, because with a smile like yours, you're gonna stop this world in it's tracks!

And that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

All You Need Is Love, Love Is All You Need

Love is an amazing thing. Not the Taylor Swift, teenage emotion kind of love that wanes and fades with time or distraction, or even the exhilarating but fleeting emotion of crush (Bowie & Elliot style, yeah!) but God's love, pouring out from His side, pooling crimson red at His feet for us, and the love He pours into our hearts for others, that His goodness might be shared.

I've been thinking a lot about love recently, mostly because I find myself in love. Yep, I'm in love, with the most awesome man I've ever known, who is so good to me, and can only be described as God's blessing and gift in my life. All this mushy-gooshy lovey-doveyness has got me to thinking about how incapable of showing real love I really am. The other night, as I was driving home from one of our dinner dates, where he had presented me with an undeserved little token of his affection (aka GORGEOUS Anthro scarf), I broke down in tears realizing that no matter how hard I try, I will never be as good to this man as he is to me, or as God is to me through him, because I am completely incapable of an unselfish kind of love. Fears of not being able to love him deeply enough haunt me.

There on Highway 169, driving home through a haze of mascara runny tears, I prayed to my Father, asking Him to grow in me the kind of love that someone as amazing as my man deserves, the kind of love that is an outpouring of His own true love in my life. And He answered me back so faithfully, reminding me of James 1:17, that "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." Yes, C is God's gift in my life, but even more than that, He is a gift from my Heavenly Father, who rules the heavenly lights, and owns the whole universe to give away at His disposal. My Father is ever steadfast, constant and true, and because He loves me and graces me with a merit I have never earned, He has given me a token of His own beautiful affection in the love of this kind and giving man. It's an earthly love that reminds me of a perfect, heavenly love.

Today I was reading Kisses From Katie, which I haven't done in a long time, and I broke down sobbing in my chair (are we sensing a trend?), because beautiful, caring Katie wrote so eloquently, once again, about God's love in her life, and her near obligation to let that love pour of our her into the many lives that God sends her way. In case you haven't read it yet, her Good Friday posting was wildly stirring in it's humility and gratitude. Here is a young woman that is wholly surrendered to His will, crazy and unpredictable and scary as it may be sometimes. And the reason why she allows herself to live a life many of us couldn't even imagine, well, it's all about love. His love for her, and the love that overflows into the lives she comes into contact with everyday. She said it in one of her posts, that when she's scared of what God's unpredictable will for her life might be, she remembers that perfect love casts out all fear.

Reflecting on all the ways we can show love to the people around us, as a mirror reflection of the God who first showed us love, can be a bit mind-blowing. I know at times I cannot comprehend it, nor even figure out how to do it. I want to love the fantastic man that God has put into my life with every last ounce of love that I can give, and in God's perfect, unselfish, giving way. This is the way he has been loving me, and one of the characteristics that I fell so in love with is the fact that he is so open about expressing his love, his support and his care for me. He shows me God's love for me in human form almost every day.

Christ Himself, fully God, yet humbled to the point of being a pathetic human, showed that love when He bled and died for us. He showed it when he, bent over with pain and the weight of the sins of the world, carried that massive cross to Calvary. He showed it when He spoke not a word, but meekly let Himself be led to the slaughter, soldiers and citizens alike mocking and humiliating Him. He showed it when He exhaled that final breath, weak from the torture He endured, heartbroken from separation from God, the natural consequence of fully bearing our sin, yet strong in grace, endurance, courage and love. That love cost Him everything, and bought me my freedom. That love set the bar for all love before and after it, every love there ever would be.

Grace, Endurance, Courage and Love. Faith, Hope and Love. And the greatest of these is Love. Love is what Christ has perfectly modeled for me. Love is what I want to give back to the world, to the hurting and unloved children, and to the man that God has blessed my life with. I'm no Katie Davis, but I know that I don't need to be. I need to be me, TrK, and to find my own path to love the way He wants me to. Only in His love, and through His strength will I ever be able to do that. And though I am scared at the prospect of all the ways that He can do that, I embrace it to. For what else do we need, but love? Love is all you need.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

A Story To Be Told On A Quiet Saturday Night

Time has passed, a lot of time, since I wrote on here last. So much has changed, inside of me, and yet nothing has changed that's visible.

I guess what I logged on here to say, and to write was this: When nothing else seems like it's worth doing, or of any interest or meaning to me anymore, writing is the one thing that I can count on to be completely therapeutic and get me through.

Things in my life are still up in the air - I'm still looking for work, a year later, I'm still barely making it by, I'm still dealing with broken relationships, and the jaded hopelessness of a questionable love life. I'm still the same old me. But I've started writing again, a short story, or a novel, or a novella, I guess. And this one thing is different for me. At times when I have nothing else that excites me or that I feel I can live for, pouring my thoughts out onto paper, listening to the comforting sound of the clack-clack of my fingernails on my keyboard, is keeping me centered and grounded. I've always wanted to be a writer, and yet I've never had the heart to write anything other than journal entries and random blog posts. I've never felt like I've had anything to say. I still don't, but something has freed up inside of me to finally put down the nuances and emotions of what I've been going through. I have a character, whose words I am driven to tell. I may never finish it, I may certainly never publish it, but for the first time, I have something to write about, something that is inspiring me, and a story to be told.

And at a time when the days drag on forever, and I wait with a sad sort of hope that something in my life will turn around and change, this one thing is getting me through. I guess I should say Thank You God, for giving me this gift and finally bringing me to a point where I want to use it.

Anyways, that's all that's new with me. As I used to say, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Brave Enough To Try

I am a wee bit addicted to style blogs. Fashion, home decorating, anything style related, I'm a sucker for it. And there are some good ones out there, trust me. So tonight, here I lay in my cozy bedroom, the milk cocoa walls playing with the light from my red mosiac glass lamps, listening to a little B&tB, and a little Moulin Rouge soundtrack, reading the style blogs. I. Am. Happy.

And then I stumbled across this amazing mural, on Coco+Kelly, one of my favie-faves, and all of a sudden I felt empty and unfulfilled, desiring, nay coveting this wall, (ok, gross exaggeration, but once you see it, you'll understand the depth of my longing).

In case you can't read the caption, it says "You'll never do a whole lot unless you're brave enough to try." Oohhhhh, the truth of that message. I want to be a woman of action, of purpose, of bravery and of daring. I want to be a woman who never let fear stop her from trying something new, doing something different and living with intention.

And just as much as I want that, I really, really, really want that mural in my living room! It is so picture perfect for me, and I really want it, I really, really do. It looks adorable in a bedroom yes, but my bedroom is a quiet little sanctuary of warm cocoa and red coziness, and that's just the kind of message I want near the front door to remind me to go greet the world with a smile, Mary Tyler Moore style, as I leave every morning. Does the fact that it's backdropped with my favorite color, navy blue, have something to do with it as well? I don't doubt the fact.

Anyways, tonight as I sing along (quietly, under my breath of course) to some Elephant Love Medley, picturing Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor shouting from the rooftops the merits of taking a chance and a risk on love, and as I think about all the things I want to do in my life, all the lives I want to make a difference in, all the places I want to see, and things I want to try (learning Italian, teaching High School English - heck maybe even combining the two and leading a trip to Verona, to see the home of one of the great literary classics Romeo & Juliet), I think to myself that nothing will ever get done unless I'm brave enough to try. I think I want to try my hand at painting a mural, even.... I just need to be brave enough to try.

Does This Help At All?

So I still haven't woken up. I still haven't had any coffee either though. There's one thing, no make that two things, no wait, make that four things that are kind of getting me through today, however, with a bit more of a smile than I would have without them:

#1 - Super Cute Monday work outfit, WITH jeans! I've decided screw this, I'm wearing jeans to work every day. Everyone else is doing it, so why can't I? Which reasoning NEVER worked with my mom growing up, but it's a good thing I'm an adult now and can eat ice cream for breakfast and pick my own clothes and do what I want. So, basically, my new work wardrobe is gonna be nice trouser jeans, button down tops, cardis and chunky heels, I can just tell. Today is no different. But it is wicked cute (wide leg, dark rinse Gap jeans, ruffle front red plaid button down from Banana Republic, basic grey cardi from the Limited, chunky red beaded necklace from Uganda, Vintage grey snakeskin T-straps from BR many a year ago, ivory chunky satchel with brass hardware from Target).

#2 - I've also taken to listening to my iPod at my desk, because well frankly, I find the silence around this place a little eery, and disturbing. And I work a LOT better with music. So right now it's Roma di Luna singing I Will by the Beatles, and before that it was a little Adele singing one of my all time favorite songs, To Make You Feel My Love (If I ever get married, I'm dancing with my husband to that song someday). Yep, Adele is awesome, and I wish I could grow up and be her - from the throaty, Bourbon soaked pleading in her songs to her vintage-glam sense of style, to her glossy auburn hair and flawless English rose complexion.

#3 - dinner with MA, my favorite used to be in youth group but has moved on to bigger things like college, kid. She is such a riot, and I love spending time with her and am always glad when we can get dinner together, trying new places and being culinary adventurers together. Tonight, we're using a Groupon someone gifted me (yay, free dinner) at the 508 Restaurant in downtown. I can't wait to get together and talk about all the neat, new things God is doing in our lives. Oh and boys. And school and work, but boys too.

#4 - speaking of boys ..... BLUSHIIING!!! I had a date this weekend, and now I've got a phone date tonight after dinner. That's all I'm saying. For now.

Well, today, this ugly semi-snowy Monday, that's all I got for ya. Hopefully, it's good enough to get through the rest of the day, cuz that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

The Mean Red Writing Blues

Sometimes writing comes easy for me, and I have more words than I'm able to get out of my mind and onto a page. Other times, I have ideas, but no way of voicing them, the words just won't come. Other times, at best, I'm a zombie, lifeless, looking to eat me some brains!

Lately I'm somewhere stuck between the latter two, when it comes to my new blog, Dancing Backwards Through The Halls. I'm leaning a little more towards having ideas, but not sure what to say about them. And I know that writing is sometimes a discipline, and sometimes an art, but when I get to these roadblocks, it's more discipline in the true being tied to my chair with a pen duct taped to my hand variety. I've got a bad case of the Monday morning mean reds.

In any case, I guess sometimes it's cathartic to at least get some ideas out there, into the great big cyberuniverse, and maybe by doing so, the words will come. Coffee might greatly aid in this process.

So for now, here's a quote I'm working with, that I got off a blog that I just love. It's inspired me to think more on how to communicate the idea of identity - that is to say, whether or not as young women we are living as Authentic, or as Airbrushed Christians.

"I have no patience with the untorn, anyone who hasn’t weathered rough weather, fallen apart, been ripped to pieces, put herself back together, big stitches, jagged cuts, nothing nice. Then something shines out. But these ones all shined up on the outside, the ass-wigglers, I’ll be honest, I don’t like them. Not at all. " - Andrea Dworkin

Let's face it, someone who dares to put it out there that fake people bother her, and uses the term ass-wiggler, to define them, is quite alright in my book and puts a slight smirk on the face of this undercaffeinated subversive. Right now, till I get some Starbucks in me, that is enough to propel me just a bit further.

And that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Monday, January 17, 2011


The Olive Garden was my very first job ever, in high school. I worked there for three years, and by the time I left I swore I never wanted to see another bowl of endless salad or basket of breadsticks ever again. Though they WERE sooooo good with Alfredo sauce, not even kidding!!!

In any case, during the course of my Italian McDonalds career, I grew to love three things at the Olive Garden - their Cappelini Primavera (no longer available, thank you very much!), their Pasta E' Fagioli soup and their Tiramisu. Two of those things were amongst the healthier options you could eat at TOG, but one of these things was not like the others. I'll let your amazing skills of deductive reasoning work it out.

Anyways, because it's January, and because everyone wants to get on the health bandwagon in January, I was brainstorming low-fat, veggie loaded dishes I could whip up for quick and easy dinners this month, and my mind turned back to the Pasta E' Fagioli soup, as well as to a soup that my friend W made last month, which was delicious. And because I've decided to cut back my meat intake to just once or twice a week, maximum and to up my veggie intake my triple I thought that with a few tweaks, this classic soup could be downright good for me, as well as delicious.

So tonight, while listening to a little Over The Rhine, I whipped it up, literally within 45 minutes, including chop time. And now, after having sat down to a big steaming bowl, I can say, in my personal opinion, this is some of the best tasting, best for you soup I've had in ages.

So here's my recipe, try it out and tell me if you agree. Just a side point too, this soup has a full serving of your daily allowance of lutein, which is more than most of us get in a week! So without further ado, my Kind of Italian, Kind of Whatever Version of Pasta E' Fagioli Soup

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
3 medium carrots, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. Jenny-O Hot Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 Red Bell Pepper, middle removed and chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, middle removed and chopped
1 medium can of Diced Tomatoes with Italian Seasonings/Roasted Garlic, whatever you find
1 small can of Tomato Sauce
1 cup dry red wine (optional)
1 large container Reduced Sodium Organic Free Range Chicken Broth from Trader Joes (or Veggie Broth if you prefer)
2 tbsp Italian Seasoning mix from Penzeys, or any Italian spice mix (or Oregano, Basil, Sage, Rosemary)
1 can Cannellini Beans, drained
1 can Kidney Beans, drained
2 medium zucchini, chopped into bite size pieces
1 large head of Kale, leaves chopped into bite size pieces
1 package cheese tortellini, from the fresh pasta section, already boiled and tossed with a little olive oil to prevent sticking
Pre-grated Reduced Fat Grated Italian Cheese blend, to taste

In a large stock pot, drizzle a little olive oil, about one tablespoon, and let it get warm enough that it moves fluidly along the bottom of the pan, when you tilt the pan. Add the carrots and celery, and saute for 3-4 minutes. Then add the shallots, garlic and onions and continue to saute till the onions turn translucent. Remove from pot, and set aside.

In the same pot, add the sausage, and break it up, as it cooks, just like you would ground beef. I use a Pampered Chef Mix & Chop which is such a handy tool - seriously, if you know a Pampered Chef crack pusher, you should totally get one!

Once the sausage is brown, return the vegetables back into the pot, and add the green and red bell peppers, and saute for 2-3 more minutes.

Now comes the fun part.... you can just start dumping everything else in there, UNTIL you get to the zucchini. Once you get to the zucchini, STOP!! Do not add that, the kale or the tortellini yet, they'll mush up and overcook if you do. Just let everything else come to a slow simmer, and cook like that for 20 minutes. Now you can throw in the kale, zucchini and tortellini (btw- with the tortellini, it's much better if you boil it ahead of time, but if you're crunched for time, or pots, you don't have to). Return to a slow simmer and let it cook for another ten minutes, and voila!! Top it off with some of that shredded cheese, and some crushed red pepper if you're feeling particularly adventurous, and you have an amazing soup, with a ton of vegetables, that is hearty, and tasty, and not really all that bad for you either.

So, from my faux Italian kitchen to yours, enjoy!!! And as they used to say at TOG years ago, Hospitaliano! (I'm pretty sure they made that word up and it's not even really part of authentic Italian vocabulary). Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That

So, it's been a while since I've had some rambling randomness here (or so I think), so I'm inclined to do a bit of that.

But first, I want to say that I'm pretty stoked to announce that I've started a new blog this week, aimed directly at young women, from junior high school to early career age, talking about issues that are relevant to their lives and hopefully offering a perspective that is godly and holy without being "in-the-box" Christianese about it. It's called Dancing Backwards Through The Halls. To quote it "The title came from the fact that as women, we are expected to dance backwards in high heels, a euphemism that refers to the fact that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Estaire ever did, but backwards and in high heels. Young women today are expected to do just that – to gracefully navigate the hallways of our schools and workplaces, heck of our lives, while dodging slushies and avoiding been thrown in trash cans and balancing in the highest of heels and expectations. More than anything I want you to know that you don’t dance alone, but rather you can rest your arms in the powerful hands of God, and just follow His lead."

I think that says it all.

I'm excited about writing it, and have a goal set for myself of writing there twice a week. I could use some feedback about topics that are relevant to young women today, because I'm sure there are many which differ from what I think they are. So please feel free to go leave me some comments there, and I will take them all into consideration.

In the meantime, over here at A Woman's Right To Shoes, I'm still the same old me, random and quirky and just using this forum as a way to think out loud as it were. Today, well, let's be honest, the first thing on my mind is how much I love the outfit I'm wearing!!! I think it looks really cute and I'm pretty satisfied with it. A cute outfit can change the entire perspective for a day, and boost my confidence, which in turn boosts my mood like no cup of joe ever could.

Let's take today's ensemble: On top you've got clean hair, always a plus. Complimented by my favorite Banana Republic oyster colored ruffle neck shell, underneath a grey BR cardigan (you can NEVER go wrong with a grey cardigan!) which is embellished with darker grey embroidered roses around the neckline. Pair that with a simple dark grey grosgrain pencil skirt (also BR), and a black rosette belt (The Limited) , grey leopard print tights (Tar-jay) and black high heeled oxfords (also Target) and I'm not even kidding, this is one cute outfit today.

Maybe I've been reading What I Wore too much though seriously, how can you not be addicted to Jessica's blog? She is sooo cute and totally my style inspiration. In addition to home decorating and DIY blogs, style blogs and lookbooks are my new end of 2010/beginning of 2011 obsession. And since I swore & stuck to a resolution of not buying any new clothing in December, I was forced to shop my closet all month long, and trust me, I have some great pieces in there, if I'd only get around to being more creative about using them.

I think I need a good girlfriend to just hang out with me in my bedroom, rocking out to some Gaga, sipping some Pinot Noir and helping me come up with some hot outfits. We could snap pictures and I could make my very own TRK lookbook, for those mornings when I wake up crabby and think "I have nothing to wear" (Oh, I know we've all been there, trust me!).

Even without the help though, I've been coming up with some super cute outfits lately, and wanting to post them all. Like my latest favorite jeans mashup that I wore to dinner last week - a light blue BR tunic (that I never wear because it looks positively maternity on), belted with my favorite hemp/cognac leather Anthro belt (which solved the whole maternity top problem), underneath a navy and white sailor striped flowy Anthro cardigan, with Gap skinny jeans my TJMaxx cognac colored riding boots and an amber colored beaded Anthro necklace. There was nothing new, just something new about the way it all came together.

Anyways, I don't mean to bore you readers with a day-by-day play-by-play of what I'm wearing. It's just that it's a nice feeling to shop my closet, and find some cute new things to wear in there, and frankly, like I said earlier, it makes me feel gooooood about myself. So there you have it, in all it's trite little glory!

Well, like I said, this post was definitely going to be "a little bit of this, a little bit of that", but before I bid you farewell, let me add this last little anecdote for your amusement.

We all know what a klutz I am - well today, I lived up to that stereotype and then some. Here at work, there are not many interesting, fun or lively people. I think I'm about it. But we do have one engineer who is pretty cute, and seems young and fun and I try to say hi to him whenever I can. But he sits on the opposite side of the building, so I never see him. Well this morning, as I was sitting at my cubicle, poking away at my work, I heard him talking to someone over near the fax machine. So, slyly, I picked up some papers and thought this would be a good time to go make some copies. I stood there, at the copy machine, quietly copying while he finished his conversation, and then when he was done I smiled and said "Hi K, how's it going?", to which he answered politely "Good, how about you?" and we started chatting, as we walked back towards my cubicle. Or I should say, he walked, and I, at that very moment, walked into a file cabinet. Face first. Just took it head on. With him standing right there. It scared me so badly, I jumped back a little bit, and he asked me, all sweet and concerned "Are you alright?"

Yeah, I'm alright. There's not much that can bruise this ego anymore, and well, face plants, that's something I'm used to. Thanks for asking though, have a nice day.

And that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Life Is What You Make Of It, Reprised

So, a few days ago I posted a little bit of reflection that I'd like to clarify was by no means self pitying whining, as much as just reflection, and what was on my mind as an observation at that time. I tend to do that sometimes, and definitely do it here - just say what I'm thinking. This blog is often more for my own cathartic thought processing as anything else.

But my post kind of got me to thinking, about, really, well, what's on my mind these days. I started thinking about what fills my mind, and what I choose to communicate to the outside world, sometimes sans filter, on a regular basis. Another factor that got me to thinking was the fact that someone I know started up a blog recently and within a few days she had 400 hits to it. Within days. I don't think I've had that many people read my blog in years! Her blog is called "Save His Girls", and it's a forum for her thoughts on the issues facing young Christian girls these days. It is written from the perspective of someone who grew up in the church, and is what I would call a very atypical contemporary Christian woman with a heart for God and His people. She is so sweet!

In some regards though, I can see our differences in this heart for His girls, not in the heart itself as much as the execution. Whereas my heart for ministry is definitely in working with young girls in the church, I would like to think that I take the approach of helping them think outside the box of contemporary Christian culture, and all that they hear in church and from well meaning family. In that sense, I would never want to be labeled as a "contemporary Christian". Yes, I want to encourage the young women I know, and love to realize that they have the power, through God's holy spirit, and the freedom bought by Christ, to seek the Father's heart as it truthfully relates to us human beings and is communicated to them in His word, as opposed to what they hear from both the world all around them (aka Christian culture) and the "World" all around them.

Girls these days don't just get conflicting messages, they get it from the most confusing of sources - from church, and family, whose overprotective and conservative views on one end of the spectrum can be just as harmful as the overly liberal, hedonistic and self-centered messages they get from pop culture and media on the other end. And not only that, I really don't think that there are enough Christian women who realize that the messages purported by Christian culture are equally harmful to these young souls, as there should be, and could be. I am blessed to be surrounded by an amazing group of friends in my generation, who not only love God but are walking with Him in authentic and seeking relationships every day. There are a few of my friends I would be proud for any teenage daughter of my own to look up to, like my friends W or L. Or H, who I miss as a female co-sponsor, and whose life exemplifies all that these girls need to hear about living for God, not for husbands or children or boyfriends or images of what it means to be a good Christian girl. These are women who, whether intentionally or not, have managed to shrug off the image of, well lameness and sameness, that surrounds contemporary Christian culture and yet have managed to still have thriving, fruitful and deep relationships with God, and that can teach a whole lot more than any Point Of Grace album notes ever could.

In any case, I digress. As I was reading a friend's email last night, where he was talking about our jobs and how they are what we're doing in our life, but are they what we're supposed to be doing WITH our life, I began to reflect on the call to ministry God has put on my life. His words convicted me to look at both how I spend my time, and what I feel God has called me to do, and to really examine if I'm living out the mandate that God has impressed upon my heart, or if I'm just self-centerdly floating and coasting day by day. I'm thankful that a friend who doesn't often share, chose to last night, because in that instance it was both inspiring and convicting and it really got me to praying and thinking. I think that's called iron sharpening iron, but y'know. Anyways, one thing that came to mind was a realization that how I use this forum for communication (the blog) is one way I could be serving God more. And I realized that more often than not, blogging, for me, is just what I called it earlier, a cathartic means of self expression and self discovery through verbal processing. I'm a writer at heart, and writing things down helps me to think things through. Yet I hate journaling, so go figure. Having a blog has been one means of working through my own issues, sorting through my own feelings and facts and processing what is going on in my own life, more so than a communique or manifesto to the outside world or a tool for touching and impacting other lives.

Yet I asked myself last night, what would it look like if I followed in the steps of "Save His Girls"s author, and used it to post on issues relevant to young women, and from a perspective that thinks outside what they're getting all the time. Instead of self-reflecting rambling,
what about actually showing some purpose in what I write? What would that look like, if I chose to be so disciplined as to stick to it (something I really struggle with)?

There are so many things I want the young women in my life to know, and that I wish I had the words to communicate to them - things like life is more than worrying about the modesty of your Sunday school outfit, it's about making sure you're at Sunday School because you desire to learn from God rather than want to appease your parents. Life isn't about "Don't drink, don't chew and don't go with boys who do". It's about seeing Christ in every life around us, and honoring that dignity while encouraging holiness in those we are closest to. Life isn't as sheltered as you've been raised to believe, and the sooner you can see the world for all it's broken fragility and vulnerability, the sooner you'll gain a heart to venture deep into it, into the scary unknowns, and affect some change. If I had one wish for the young women in my life, it's that they would live with the courage to venture into places unknown, the skill to reach into lives untouched and the intimacy with God to do it from His heart and with His strength. If I had one wish for them, it would be that even now they would stop hearing messages that encourage, whether consciously or not, the thought pattern that life is about who you're married to and how many kids you have and what Moms group you attend, but that life is about how you let God flow through your hands and feet and mouth, how you see the world through His eyes and how you fearlessly get out there and do something to make it more like His kingdom. Whether you're playing KTIS or wearing a long enough skirt while doing it aren't nearly as important as just doing it, and I want to tell them that.

So, not to rip off a friend or anything, but because this has been something I've wanted to do for over a year, and I've let laziness hinder me from doing it, I'm starting a new blog, an offshoot if you will, aimed specifically for young women, Christian or not, to address the issues and challenges and situations that they are facing every day, and not just the ones we perceive they might have to deal with. One that they can post questions or comments to anonymously, and one that authentically and truthfully examines what they're dealing with without judgement or preconceived notions of what a good Christian girl should look like, think like or act like. A safe haven for their thoughts and (hopefully) an inspiration for their future dreams. I haven't decided on a name yet, and am still hoping and praying for a blog makeover, for both this one and the new one. But I've given myself a deadline of getting it set up within the week, and will keep y'all posted here once it goes up. I'm open to suggestions immediately, both on name, topic, and anything else you think should be included in this mission, this venture if you will. I'm also asking for accountability from my more faithful readers, since as I mentioned, stick-to-itiveness is something I generally lack.

More than anything, I hope that as you read this, you think to lift up in prayer the young women in your life, and ask God not just to protect them, which I know He faithfully and lovingly does, but to inspire them to dream big, to live bigger and to live a life of worship and full fledged service to the biggest God we know. He deserves all that we have, and they deserve nothing less than our hearts, time, love and support. For me, this is my calling, and I pray that I can somehow live it out on a daily basis. And that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Life Is What You Make Of It

I should keep this brief, because I'm afraid if I don't, I'm gonna regret it.

I had an interesting talk with a friend today, and she continued to expound, after a similar chat last week, on all the reasons she loves being single. I wholeheartedly agree - being single is amazing! I love the freedom, the Independence, the lack of responsibility that comes in the shape of having to think of another person's needs and wants before my own. Sound selfish? It might be, and my friend and I agreed that oftentimes being single is the easy way out. Easy because it requires no change, no sacrifice, and for the most part it breeds a lack of qualities such as compromise and selflessness. The marriages that I've seen, while rewarding, seem like a lot of hard work, requiring a level of sacrifice and vulnerability and patience that I can't even imagine. I've heard the payout is amazing - a shared life, trust, unity, intimacy, having a partner to do life with, having children and so on and so forth. I'm pretty sure both situations have their pro's and con's, however, having a limited perspective, I definitely fall into the "Singleness Rules!!!" camp.

But as I was sitting here, reflecting on all the ways that being single is great, and all the things about it that I love, I realized that the only real thing about single that I don't appreciate is having to go to bed alone. It is never till I have to go hit the hay that my singleness ever stares me back in the face. It is then that I truly feel, and am, alone. I can fill up my day with people, and service, and a million other things that keep my time and attention occupied. But it isn't till I'm tucked in (by myself of course, since there's no one to tuck me in), and in the quiet stillness that comes before sleep that I ever wish I wasn't single. I'm not sure why, exactly, since I've slept alone my entire life. The solitude of an empty bed, of not having another face to say good night and good morning to, and the deep buried longing that it brings to the surface in me, is inexplicable.

Or is it? I mean, I know all the schtuff about how we, as people, were not created to be alone. We are relational beings, needed company and conversation and community. I get how that makes sense and do not try to deny that at times, I have thrown it in God's face as a pseudo-argument for my own discontentment. But I'm not discontent now, as a matter of fact, I'm hardly willing to part with my life as I know it, I like it so much. In talking with said friend, I mentioned to her that it would take one helluva man to make me want a relationship more than I want my quiet solitude and the peacefulness of my single life. (By the way, I feel like when I say things like that, I sound like a 65 year old man, living in a great big house alone with nothing but his jazz records and cardigans and gardening for company). So, what is it about this bewitched hour? This cerebrally unaccounted for period? This, this, BEDTIME???

I'm not sure, but I do know this, as I head off to sleep soon, after a lovely evening spent enjoying the three B's - Bronte (Charlotte), Beer and Buckley (Jeff, that is), I pray that sleep comes swift and heavy. I hope that there is no time between my head hitting the pillow and my consciousness shutting down, for me to think or dwell on, or even recognize this lacking element in my life. Because after all, life is what you make of it, and I have a pretty good life as far as things go and I don't plan on finding anything to regret about it. I may be sleeping alone, but as far as perspective goes, it's not the end of the world, or anything to get worked up about. As a matter of fact, in the big picture sleeping alone is not something I want to lose any sleep over. And that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.